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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

CHAPTER   VIII
BBIHM-BAJS AND THE VAJSHNAVA E1FOEMERS.
SOME six miles above Mathum is a point where the right bank of the Jamuni
assumes the appearance of a peninsula, owing to the eccentricity of the stream^
which first makes an abrupt turn to the north and then as sudden a return upon
its accustomed southern course,   Here, washed on three of its sides by the
sacred flood, stands the town of Brinda-ban, at the present day a rich and
prosperous municipality ? and for several centuries past one of the most holy
places of the Hindus.   A little higher up the stream a similar promontory
occurs, and in both cases the curious formation is traditionally ascribed to the
resentment of Baiadeva.   He^ it is said, forgetful one day of Ms habitual
reserve^ and emulous of his younger brother's popular graceSj led out the
Gopis for a dance upon the sands*    But he performed his part so badly, that
the Jamuna could not forbear from taunting him with his failure and recom-
mending him never again to exhibit so clumsy an imitation of Krishna's agile
movements.   The stalwart god was much vexed at this criticism and^ taking
up the heavy plough which he had but that moment laid aside, he drew with
it so deep a farrow from the shore that the unfortunate river, perforce, fell into
it, was drawn helplessly away and has never since been able to recover its
original channel*
Such is the local rendering of the legend ; but in the Puranas and other
early Sanskrit authorities the story is differently told, in this wise; that as
Balar&ma was roaming through the woods of Biinda-ban, he found concealed
in the cleft of a kadamb tree some spirituous liquor, which he at once con-
sumed with Ms usual avidity. Heated by intoxication he longed, above all
things, for a bathe In Hie river3 and seeing the Jsmnna at some little distanee?
he shouted for it to comę near. The stream, however, remained deaf to his
summons; whereupon ihe inferiated god took up his ploughshare and breaking
down ihe bank drew tike water into a mew channel and forced it to follow
wherever lie led. In the BMgavata it is added that the Jamnnfi, is still to be
seen following ins course &lomg which she was thns dragged. Professor Wilson,
in his edition of ihe Tishnm Per4na, says, " The legend probablj alludes to
the eonstosfcbn of canals from the Jamusft for the purpose of irrigation ; and
ihe works of fl╗ Mnlmmmadans in this way3           are well known, were no
doubt preceded by similar canals dog by the order of Hiado prlaoes,93   Upon this